Executive Functioning

Exploring Executive Functioning Skills & Parent Tips

September 30, 2022

Executive functioning skills are all the skills needed to engage in goal-directed behavior, such as planning a vacation or organizing a birthday party. We use them every day, throughout the day. Many people think of it as organizational skills, but it’s much more. Executive functioning skills also help us with emotional regulation. The Three Categories of Executive Functioning Skills: Working Memory –  the ability to hold information in one’s head in order to complete tasks. Cognitive Flexibility – the ability to shift attention in order to respond appropriately to different situations; it’s a prerequisite for flexibility and adaptability. Self-Control – the ability to manage and modulate one’s emotions and desires in potentially difficult situations; the ability to restrain impulses. Executive Functioning is Situational If we think about a student being given an assignment or an activity to do at school, we can describe several different executive functioning skills needed to…

Read More

Tips to Avoid Summer Brain Drain

June 28, 2021

I recently was asked to give a talk for the FAA on School’s Out: Tips on How to Avoid Summer Brain Drain. Parents wanted to know how they should be engaging their students over the summer, especially in light of COVID and the hopeful relaxing of social guidelines. Parents often worry about regression and wonder if there are ways to prevent it. Many parents also have pragmatic concerns: I have to work full time over the summer, what are my kids supposed to do? Dr. David Myles, who is a pediatrician at Walter Reed and also spoke at the event, used a term I’d like to borrow. He explained that it’s best to view the summer as a bridge between the beginning and end of school.  First of all, as parents, please be kind to yourselves. This has been quite a year and we’ve all had to embrace flexibility, good…

Read More
students and teachers using remote learning at the Sycamore School

Remote Learning – Tips and Lessons Learned

May 1, 2020

Shifting to distance learning has been an adjustment for students, staff, and parents. At The Sycamore School, we offer individualized instruction, so our unique challenge was determining how to offer the same level of support remotely, recognizing that: Many of our parents work full time, so they have limited ability to monitor and check in on their students while they’re working from home.  Many of our students struggle with executive functioning skills, so we had to figure out how to get them into a routine that worked for them and their family;  Once it became apparent distance learning was not a short-term endeavor, we divided up our students between our staff. Each staff member was the point person for a small cohort of 10 students, checking in with them daily and helping them create and maintain a daily schedule. While this was a good starting point, it wasn’t always enough.…

Read More

Uncovering and Addressing Executive Functioning Struggles In Students

December 22, 2019

Late, Lost or Missing Homework? Uncovering and Addressing Executive Functioning Struggles In Students Another week and another missing assignment in the grade book for your student.  It seems like all their peers complete and turn assignments in on time, so why is it so hard for your child?  Late, lost or forgotten homework can be a sign that your student is struggling with executive functioning skills, which are the building blocks of productivity.  Executive functioning allows you to organize your day, plan long and short-term projects, and remember to complete tasks. The National Center for Learning Disabilities defines “Executive Function” as a “set of mental processes that helps us connect past experience with present action.”   How do you determine if your student’s struggles are age-appropriate or if they are a symptom of an executive function issue?    One option is to ask your school to do an evaluation, or student…

Read More

For kids to thrive, school should be a good fit

February 8, 2017

Is your school a good fit? As a parent, one of our biggest concerns can be making sure our children are thriving in their current school setting. When our children struggle and are unhappy at school, it creates considerable stress for the student and the whole family. Often it is this stress that leads parents to seek private school. As you consider school options for your children, be sure to ask potential school administrators “what is your school’s target student? Who are you serving?” At The Sycamore School, we’re intentionally recruiting a diverse community of learners that reflect the range of abilities you would encounter in the general population. We are particularly seeking students who might be surviving – but not thriving – in their current learning environment. Students who would be a good fit at The Sycamore School Students with a Montessori background – because they already have many…

Read More